Some Favorite Movie People

Francis Ford Coppola has made 4 masterpieces: The Godfather Trilogy, Apocalypse Now, and The Conversation. Godfather II is one of the few movies I have to watch to the end if I accidentally bump into it being broadcast on tv. A fantastic sense of atmosphere, story, and flow.

A laissez-faire director who let his actors improvise–why they loved him. Short Cuts and Gosford Park are also among his best. Large casts and use of microphones to pick up the chatter of minor characters in the background. A maverick auteur unafraid to experiment, who made his unconventional films without studio interference.

The great Sid I saw speaking at the Jubilee Auditorium about a decade ago. I was a fan from To Sir with Love and In the Heat of the Night onward. He paid his dues many years before those films–Lillies of the Field, Blackboard Jungle, and Cry the Beloved Country. A fine voice–check him out on his hard-life bio CDs and his out-of-print ’60s jazz LP with philosophical readings. A neat, cool guy.

The genius director of painfully honest relationships films. He has made more classics than you can shake a stick at: The Seventh Seal, Persona, Wild Strawberries, Autumn Sonata, Fanny and Alexander, Scenes from a Marriage, Cries and Whispers, et al. A real loner who started famously directing theatre, then transitioned seamlessly to film. The above intimate documentary is very revealing about his sensibility, life, and art.

The greatest living British actor at this point. Caine gave us numerous classics: Alfie, Sleuth, Get Carter, Zulu, Educating Rita, The Cedar House Rules, Hannah and Her SistersX, Y, and Zee, The Man Who Would Be King, California Suite, Little Voice, The Quiet American, Last Orders, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He has played many famous people too, including Jack the Ripper to Scrooge. Great Cockney voice–his Elephant to Hollywood CD review of his life is splendid listening.

Olivier was the most impressive stage actor who transitioned to film, both acting and directing. Strong roles included Hamlet, Henry V, Othello, Wuthering Heights, The Entertainer, The Boys from Brazil, Marathon Man, King Lear, and Sleuth. Always acted with memorable flair and humor.

The greatest living American actor known for his quirky energy and realistic passion. Loved him in The Godfather, Godfather II, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Sea of Love, Glengarry Glen Ross, Looking for Richard, The Merchant of Venice, Insomnia, SIMONE, Donnie Brasco, Heat, and Scarecrow. He has a better track record than de Niro, methinks.

Old Blue Eyes was nominated numerous times for the Academy Award. A very likable guy as epitomized by his Butch Cassidy character. Other films of his I really like include: The Verdict, Nobody’s Fool, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Paris Blues, The Prize, Cool Hand Luke, The Hustler, Absence of Malice, Slap Shot, Sometimes a Great Notion, Hud. He also directed his wife Joanne Woodward in The Glass Menagerie and Rachel, Rachel. He led a full life driving race cars and using his salad dressing to make millions for charity. Another neat guy.

Tony was a wild Welsh actor-drunk until he got to Hollywood and conquered his demons, becoming a star in the ’80s. Creepy Hannibal is his most memorable role, but I prefer him in A Doll’s House, Magic, 84 Charing Cross Road, Howards End, The Remains of the Day, Shadowlands, and Nixon. He has played many famous people including Picasso, Hitchcock, Nixon, and Hitler. Touted as a ‘successor’ to Olivier onstage, he chose to do films instead.

‘Bud’, the original vagabond of film. Montgomery Clift, Paul Newman, and James Dean all lived in his shadow to begin with in their careers. Brando started in theatre with director Elia Kazan and did A Streetcar Named Desire on film, after which all the famous films followed: The Men, Viva Zapata!, Julius Caesar, The Wild One, On the Waterfront, The Teahouse of the August Moon, The Young Lions, Bedtime Story, One-Eyed JacksThe Chase, Reflections in a Golden Eye, The Night of the Following Day, The Godfather, Last Tango in Paris, Apocalypse Now. Brando remains the most famous Method actor and galled Hollywood by turning down a Best Actor award to being attention to native causes. He also co-led Civil Rights marches. Considered by many to be the all-time great American actor.

‘Hitch’ made over 50 films, many of which are classics. I’ve written about him at length in an earlier blog entry. A good example of an auteur director.

The famous passionate acting couple of the ’60s; they could never stay apart or live together for any length of time. Burton had one of the best voices of stage and screen. His best includes Woolf, Look Back in Anger, Becket, The Night of the Iguana, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Taming of the Shrew, Where Eagles Dare, Anne of the Thousand Days, Equus, Wagner, and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Taylor’s best includes Jane Eyre, National Velvet, Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly Last Summer, Butterfield 8, Cleopatra, Woolf, The Taming of the Shrew, and X, Y, and Zee.

Orson I have covered in a previous blog entry. A Boy Wonder genius actor and director who made one of cinema’s most famous films– Citizen Kane.

Epic director David Lean I have also covered in a previous blog entry. Lawrence of Arabia, Bridge on the River Kwai, and Dr. Zhivago were his big three films.

A hugely underrated actor, Peck is perhaps more unsung than he should be. A memorable matinee idol who played a cornucopia of plum roles in: The Keys of the Kingdom, Spellbound, The Macomber Affair, Gentleman’s Agreement, Twelve O’Clock High, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Roman Holiday, Moby Dick, The Big Country, Pork Chop Hill, On the Beach, The Guns of Navarone, To Kill a Mockingbird, Cape Fear, Arabesque, The Omen, MacArthur, The Boys from Brazil, Old Gringo. A nice, likable guy in person with movie-screen charisma.

My favorite comic film actor. Sellers delighted millions with his Inspector Clouseau and the first Pink Panther movie is the ideal place to start. Of his previous UK films, his The Battle of the Sexes, Waltz of the Toreadors, and The Mouse That Roared are classics. My favorites include Being There, What’s New Pussycat, Dr. Strangelove, and The World of Henry Orient.  His post-Goons Rhino CD boxset produced by George Martin is a hoot. He is quite funny spoofing “Can’t Buy Me Love” and doing voice background on The Hollies’ “After the Fox”. He was naturally funny to look at and listen to.


BTW/Other movie actors I have enjoyed include: Ingrid Bergman, Jane Fonda, Katherine Hepburn, and Deborah Kerr.

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